Q: I have my Outlook junk rules set to Low, but Outlook keeps sending important email messages to my junk folder anyway. Short of disabling my junk rules completely, what can I do to prevent this from happening?
A: I, too, find Outlook’s junk rules a bit ambitious, even at the lowest setting. I suggest you fine-tune your junk rule settings, as follows:
Adjust default junk settings. From Outlook’s Home tab, select Junk (from the Delete group), Junk E-mail Options. On the Safe Senders tab, check the two boxes labeled Also trust e-mail from my Contacts and Automatically add people I e-mail to the Safe Senders List.
Set up contacts. Each time you communicate with a new person, take a moment to set him or her up as a contact because Outlook will treat all messages from your contacts as safe messages (based upon the setting adjustment made in step 1). To quickly add a contact, open the sender’s email message, right-click on his or her email address, and then select Add to Outlook Contacts from the pop-up menu. Include any additional contact information you wish, and then click Save and Close.
Add Safe Senders. Next, visit your Junk E-mail folder and right-click on email messages that are not junk. Then, from the pop-up menu, select Junk, Never Block Sender. Repeat this process for each sender you wish to add to your Safe Senders list. (Tip: Instead of adding firstname.lastname@example.org (for example), click the Add button and add @irs.gov to the Safe Senders list; that way all of your email messages from that particular domain name will be treated as safe messages.)
Move messages to your inbox (optional). To move messages from your junk folder to your Inbox, right-click on the email message and from the pop-up menu, select Not Junk. (This step is sometimes necessary because hyperlinks are not activated and thus will not work for email messages read from the junk folder. In addition, HTML formatting is removed from email messages read from the junk folder.)
Over time, these adjustments should help ensure the majority of emails are properly treated as safe messages.